While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare for a challenging offense against the Cincinnati Bengals, the defending AFC champions placed quarterback Joe Burrow on the injury report for Wednesday, December 14.
Burrow has an elbow injury according to the report, but he practiced in full capacity and spoke with the media. He has another strong season going with 3,685 yards passing and 27 touchdowns versus nine interceptions.
“I don’t have all the adjectives that everybody said about him,” Bucs head coach Todd Bowles told reporters about facing Burrow. “He’s great, he’s poised in the pocket, he throws a great ball all over the field, he can throw at any angle, he can make any throw, he has some great receivers to throw to, he has a good understanding of the offense and the game, he can take advantage of what you’re trying to give him, he can run the ball when he has to run the ball, he can throw people open, he can use his feet.”
“He has a knack for the game. Certain guys when they come out of college that young have a knack for the game already — he has it,” Bowles added.
Burrow, meanwhile after the Bengals practice, deflected any Tom Brady comparisons.
“I don’t really pay attention to it. He’s Tom and I’m Joe,” Burrow told reporters. “I really just think that I play the game my own way. I kind of have a little bit of everybody. I wouldn’t say there’s one thing I do the best. But I would say that I do everything with the best of them. I wouldn’t say I really have a glaring weakness.”
Latest Bucs Signee Gets Shot at Former Team
Amid a myriad of injuries, Bucs cornerback Anthony Chesley will get his shot against his former team on December 18.
The Bucs signed Chesley off the practice squad on Wednesday, December 14, for the Week 15 game against the Cincinnati Bengals due to multiple defensive back injuries. He took the roster spot held by linebacker Oalkunle Fatukasi, whom the team released on Tuesday.
Chesley originally signed with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent from Coastal Carolina in 2019 where he spent part of the season on the practice squad. He bounced around to the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts over the next following three years before landing with the Bucs this year.
Tampa Bay could use Chesley for cornerback depth with starting corner Jamel Dean out because of a big toe injury from the San Francisco 49ers game in Week 14. Cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (quadriceps) returned to full participation at practice on Wednesday, but he was the only injured member of the secondary to do so. Safeties Antoine Winfield Jr. (ankle) and Mike Edwards (hamstring), who only had limited participation at practice on Wednesday.
“Sean is ahead of the other two — he did some good things today, we’ll see how he progresses during the week. Mike did some things as well, [Winfield] did some things — he’s got to do more for him to play for me to see him,” Bowles said on Wednesday.
How soon Dean returns remains uncertain amid wearing a boot on his foot due to the injury. Dean had a solid season going with 55 tackles and two interceptions before the injury. Murphy-Bunting has 17 tackles and an interception in six games played on defense this season.
Chesley, 6-feet, 190-pounds, played in 12 games between his stints with the Texans and Colts. He has seven tackles and fumble recovery in his limited playing time on defense. With the Bucs, he got called up earlier in the season and played in three games on special teams.
The Bucs signed linebacker Hamilcar Rashed Jr. to fill Chesley’s former practice squad spot on Wednesday. Rashed previously competed on the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ practice squad before getting released in November.
Injuries Abound at Key Positions for Bucs
Injury concerns for the Bucs persist well beyond the secondary.
Nose tackle Vita Vea (calf), offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs (ankle), linebacker Carl Nassib (pectoral), and wide receiver Julio Jones (knee) didn’t practice on Wednesday. Wirfs has been out since his injury against the Cleveland Browns in Week 12 while Vea, Nassib, and Jones sustained injuries amid the Bucs’ latest loss in San Francisco.
Only Vea left the game with an injury, and Bowles didn’t have the most promising prognosis on Wednesday. The Bucs could ill afford to lose a strong run-stopper in Vea for a game against the Bengals’ quality run attack led by running back Joe Mixon.
“I doubt it – we’ll see how he progresses during the week,” Bowles said of Vea. “If he’s not out there by Friday, I’d say no.”